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AMA call to action pending

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Old 10-07-2019, 09:07 AM
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mongo
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Default AMA call to action pending

first post in this thread is worth a read

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...rom-FAA-coming

most likely too little, too late, but...
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:56 PM
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And that, in a nutshell is why I won't join the AMA, you get literally nothing for your money.
I do like Franklin's posts in that thread, however, since he's one that will call a spade a spade:
(Post 1)Originally Posted by franklin_m
Wow. Go figure. FAA following the law that Congress wrote. And AMA, for MONTHS, painting an unrealistically rosy picture. Let's see, has that ever happened before? Let me check. Oh yeah...
- Registration requirement for AMA members
- Preserving 336
- No impact from new FAA bill
- Continue flying "as always have"

(Post 2)
My point in this is that AMA has a well established pattern. Something happens related to laws, regulations, etc. They meet with the FAA, lawmakers, etc. repeatedly. For months the AMA communicates to members how much they're accomplishing, how they've been assured, etc. And then, REPEATEDLY, what actually gets published, written into law, etc. is considerably different than the picture AMA painted for members.

As I've said before, government does not do these things w/o clearly communicating their intentions beforehand. So it's my opinion that there are two possible reasons for this:
Reason 1. Those AMA officials meeting with government reps are not perceiving the signals the FAA and others are sending. In other words, they're in over their heads. Big picture, that means that membership dollars are being given to someone, in the form of a salary, for work they're clearly unable to do. The money is effectively wasted. Or...

Reason 2. Those AMA officials meeting with government reps are properly perceiving the signals, but the EC and other AMA leaders are deliberately choosing to communicate something different to members. To me, that is much more serious. These "negotiations", talks, etc. have been ongoing for MONTHS, and yet the EC is about to drop this info now? AFTER the flying season? AFTER the spike in renewals they probably see in the spring? And why is that important? Think revenue flow to Taj-Muncie.So pick one ... either incompetence or deceit.

Now that I've pasted this, let's see how long it will be before the AMA faithful start to bash me and/or Franklin.

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Old 10-08-2019, 02:44 AM
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Hydro. Thanks.

I lay this at the feet of the the two people driving governmental policy these past few years: Rich Hanson and Chad Budreau. Rather than work WITH the FAA back before 336, they did an end-around with Congress and got that legislation over objections of FAA. Large bureaucracies don't forget things like that, which explains follow-on actions like FAA not sending decision makers to meetings, FAA not acting on AMA's CBO petition for years, and countless smaller events.

I submit that FAA has deliberately slow-rolled naming AMA a CBO to allow time for others to get established, thus diluting AMA's competitive advantage, and bringing other voices into the mix. Increased competition for the CBO membership dollar, combined with AMA's longstanding revenue problems, will diminish them further. AMA EC compounded the problem by a history of poor decision making and focus on intangibles rather than tangible meaningful benefits for rank and file members.
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:25 PM
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copied from the LM call to action that was sent 8 Oct 19

"
Commonly Asked Questions for the October Call to Action



Q: How can I act? A: Visitwww.modelaircraft.org/higher-flightor www.modelaircraft.org/gov.Simply enter your name and location, AMA will populate the form with your elected legislators. We have also provided text you can use or edit to make your own. We encourage all of those who support the hobby to participate.

Q: What are the recreational UAS altitude restrictions found in this FAA policy? A: Recreational UAS users will only be permitted to fly up to 400 feet in controlled airspace. This altitude will vary depending upon the user's location. In uncontrolled airspace, recreational users will be permitted to fly up to 700 feet or 1,200 feet, depending upon the user's location. It is unclear at this time if these uncontrolled airspace altitudes will be permitted only at fixed flying site locations. Controlled and uncontrolled airspace locations can be found on the FAA's UAS Facility Map.

Q: This new FAA policy would restrict flights to 400 feet and below in controlled airspace. What is controlled airspace? A: Controlled airspace is typically found within 5 miles of an airport with air traffic control towers. However, keep in mind that there are some airports in controlled airspace that don't have control towers.

Q: Is there a waiver process to fly above 400 feet in controlled airspace? A: The policy is not finalized, but we are being told that there will not be a waiver process for flights over 400 feet in controlled airspace.

Q: Our flying site is located in controlled airspace. Should we continue working through the LOA process?A: Yes. Flying sites located in controlled airspace will still require a letter of agreement (LOA) with local air traffic control (ATC) facilities.

Q: The LOA we received from our local ATC is unsatisfactory. Should we still sign it?

A: No. If you have received an LOA that you are unhappy with, reach out to the AMA Government Affairs team before signing it.



Q: What is uncontrolled airspace?

A: Uncontrolled airspace, or Class G airspace, is typically found in rural areas away from airports.



Q: How high will I be able to fly in uncontrolled airspace? A: The FAA has stated that it is working on a blanket flying site waiver for uncontrolled airspace. This will allow AMA members to fly up to 700 feet or 1,200 feet depending upon the location within Class G airspace.

Q: Isn't flying up to 700 feet or 1,200 feet in Class G airspace good? A: Although these altitudes will be sufficient for most of our members, we have a number of disciplines that will need to go higher than these proposed heights. Thermal soaring, large model aircraft, turbine jets, and international competitions will suffer greatly if there is a hard cap at these heights. Not only will these disciplines suffer, but the industry supporting these disciplines will be negatively impacted.

Q: New recreational requirements were signed into law in October 2018. Why am I just hearing of this? A: The FAA has been working to implement the new recreational requirements for months. Until recently, the FAA has been telling AMA that our operations will not be negatively impacted. However, within the last week, the FAA informed us of a coming policy that will not allow altitude waivers for recreational fliers.

Q: I want to do my part. How can I help address these burdensome altitude restrictions? A: Use the link provided by AMA to contact your senators and representatives. Congress gave the FAA the flexibility to allow AMA operations to continue as they have for decades. It's time your congressional representatives inform the FAA that your voice needs to be heard.

Q: These altitudes will be perfect for the type of flying I do. Should I still contact Congress? A: Absolutely. We should show our support to all aspects of model aviation. Although these altitude restrictions only appear to impact a minority of the hobby, they will have a negative impact on the hobby as a whole once they are implemented."
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:32 PM
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"Q: The LOA we received from our local ATC is unsatisfactory. Should we still sign it?

A: No. If you have received an LOA that you are unhappy with, reach out to the AMA Government Affairs team before signing it. "

Riiiiiiiiiiight. Like it'll do any good.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by flyboy2610 View Post
"Q: The LOA we received from our local ATC is unsatisfactory. Should we still sign it?

A: No. If you have received an LOA that you are unhappy with, reach out to the AMA Government Affairs team before signing it. "

Riiiiiiiiiiight. Like it'll do any good.
You would be better off contacting your congressman or senator. The AMA's legal team doesn't appear to be able to handle anything beyond collecting their paychecks
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:25 AM
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Hydro,

Very astute observations. I’m really struggling to understand why the AMA appears so ineffectual dealing with these issues. Perhaps they simply have not developed the relationships needed to lobby in Washington. I too cannot understand the huge deviations from what is communicated to members and what actually gets put into law. Where is the cut throat, experienced legal team that will go to bat for the model community? Tie them up in court to bring them to the table, do something. I remember reading about an individual lawyer in Maryland that was able to challenge the FCC about the registration process. At the time I was thinking, "wow this one guy able to do this, where is the AMA?" We do not need a fancy building and flying field in Mucie, IN, that most of use will probably never visit or have the opportunity to use. We need an organization that knows how to play in Washington that can represent our interests.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ddiluzio View Post
Hydro,

Very astute observations. I’m really struggling to understand why the AMA appears so ineffectual dealing with these issues. Perhaps they simply have not developed the relationships needed to lobby in Washington. I too cannot understand the huge deviations from what is communicated to members and what actually gets put into law. Where is the cut throat, experienced legal team that will go to bat for the model community? Tie them up in court to bring them to the table, do something. I remember reading about an individual lawyer in Maryland that was able to challenge the FCC about the registration process. At the time I was thinking, "wow this one guy able to do this, where is the AMA?" We do not need a fancy building and flying field in Mucie, IN, that most of use will probably never visit or have the opportunity to use. We need an organization that knows how to play in Washington that can represent our interests.
IMO at one time the AMA had a good relationship with the FAA but then the AMA lobbied congress to get rule 336 passed. The rule was intended to force modelers to be AMA members and the way it was written it
barred the FAA regulating model aircraft that was flown under AMA programing and being under the program ment being a member. Also under the rule all turbines and over 55lb models had to have a waiver to legally fly
and that forced you to be a AMA member to receive these waivers. IMO if the AMA had not tried to make it all about themselves we would be better of now also the rule 336 was replaced with rule 349 that allows
the FAA to regulate models as they see fit.

Last edited by ira d; 10-10-2019 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:06 PM
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Ira, you're probably right. The AMA was formed as a lobby for flying models and those that fly them, regardless of the control system. When the powers that be forced the move from Washington DC to Indiana and changed the goal of the lobbying from members to making membership mandatory, among other things, the FAA and Congress took it as the acts of a belligerent child and, with the latest legislation, has shown that it's time to hit back, both in the name of aviation safety and to show the AMA who's the boss. From what is happening in the capital with said legislation, it appears the AMA is looked upon as a nuisance, much like insects at a picnic, rather than an organization that's actually respected and taken seriously.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:28 AM
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IMO, the AMA EC's key mistake was believing their own rhetoric. They spent so much time chest thumping on their safety management system, their influence, the idea that every pilot ever created started with toy planes, they hundreds of millions they raise for every charity in the US, and their unmatched scientific expertise when it comes to aviation, etc. Of course, none of the above is true, but the EC spent so much time parroting it, they they actually started to believe it.

The problem is, the other aviation stakeholders saw them for what they are. A bunch of rather fumbling old fogies who play with toy planes and have an overly inflated view of their hobby that just isn't match by reality. Then, in a desperate effort to stem a decade of declining revenue, rather than compromise with the FAA and other stakeholders, they did a Congressional "end-around" the FAA and got 336. I can say that bureaucracies don't appreciate those sort of stunts, and the FAA's reaction was predictable and obvious. For example, the EC complained about how FAA wouldn't send decision makers to meetings with them, and they complained that FAA had not acted on their CBO petition despite having it for years. That was the FAA bureaucracy flipping AMA the bird over the 336 stunt. What's tragic is that AMA could not see it.

And then of course there's the reality. Congress and FAA saw clearly what AMA was trying to do with 336, "order" the FAA to let them do whatever they want while simultaneously using the law to try and compel membership. Again FAA reacted predictably, jumping at the first chance to say for the record (in response to my email I might add) that they did not interpret 336 as requiring membership Meanwhile, FAA slow rolled AMA. Smiling to their faces, while doing nothing substantive in response to AMA. And of course, AMA was OBLIVIOUS to this.

And other aviation stakeholders don't take AMA seriously for more tangible reasons. AMA says they have a "Safety Management System (SMS)," but the other stakeholders (and FAA) know otherwise. It exists in name only, and it's apparent. IF it was a genuine SMS, there would be centralized AMA compliance monitoring of club operations, Large Model Aircraft inspections, turbine waiver signoffs, etc. That would mean centralized HQ people, in a systematic way, checking clubs, inspectors, and CDs to ensure that they're executing the program in a consistent way ... the way AMA wants it done. Instead, AMA merely writes a rule and "assumes" everyone follows it. Similarly, when there's a near miss, they actually hold people accountable. For example, a 100lb plane nearly misses the crowd at a major event. Not only were safety standoffs waived (who, why, under what authority, supported by what risk analysis), aggressive maneuvers close to the crowd were allowed (same questions), but also it was the third total loss mishap from the same operator / builder. The latter raises questions about skill, safety mindset, and even who inspected the aircraft and determined it was safe for signoff as LMA? The point is, other aviation stakeholders hear AMA's rhetoric and see, quite easily, that AMA is TALKING a good game, but DOING virtually nothing they say they do.

Fast forward to now. AMA has spent months, desperately trying to maintain that romanticized image of themselves. As we've seen, the reality is much different. They're NOT the source of all pilots in the US. They make money for charity, but tiny in comparison to other sources. And their STEM "education" pales in comparison to what Flite Test does. Yet they keep thumping their chests. Again, "Believing their own rhetoric."

Now they are trying to do another Congressional end-around on the FAA. Tyler Dobbs' interview the other day was embarrassing. It was him saying (picture toddler stomping feet) "Waaah ... waaah ... waaah ... the meanies at the FAA won't give us what we want, when we want it, exactly as we've always done it." The FAA Air Traffic Control people will be hammered by NTSB if they allow AMA above what Congress said and there's an issue with a manned aircraft. It is baffling that anyone at AMA actually thinks the FAA air traffic people are going to stick their professional necks out any more than what 349 requires. And for a small organization, that doesn't even have a serious safety program? Yeah right. "FAA allows commercial operators waivers...." as noted by by Tyler. Well yes, because unlike toy plane flyers, those folks are actually FAA LICENSED! The level of incompetence in dealing with FAA is comical.

So I predict that FAA will either tell them flatly no, or will say "Ok, we'll put your requests out as a Notice of Proposed Rule Making." FAA knows how to play this game. That NPRM will allow all the other stakeholders, DoD, DHS, ALPA, etc. to comment. And those folks will not support AMA's "wants." Those comments will give FAA all the ammo they need to formally tell AMA no in a way that Congress won't touch. Checkmate.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:43 AM
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For those who believe the AMA is not being as effective as it should:
Did it not occur to anyone that the AMA leadership may be doing the best they can with the resources they have? And maybe it's too small an organization that represents too much of a niche in the broader American society to exert the kind of influence on the FAA that we'd like. I compare this to the situation in the 90's when Clinton was pushing to ban firearms. The NRA was the big resistance, and even with probably 20 times the membership and money that the AMA has and much better developed lobbying skills they were only partly successful.How could anyone think the AMA would do any better?
Honestly, I think the AMA has done a good job representing us. They haven't gotten us everything we wanted, but they have made some reasonable requests and gotten a few concessions. The FAA couldn't care less about what we do. They are focused on the multi-billion dollar industry of commercial flight and the millions of human lives at stake every year who use it. If we keep flying or don't keep flying makes no difference to them. It speaks well of the FAA that they listened to us at all and tried to let us keep enjoying our hobby within the confines of what they needed to do to keep commercial flight safe. And I appreciate that the AMA put so much effort into listening to its membership and representing us to the FAA as best they could. For such a small organization to have that much influence speaks well of their effort.
So no, it's not perfect, and we didn't get everything we wanted. But we got more than we would have without the AMA, and the FAA was able to do its job. From what I can see, the only real regulation that came our way was the $5 every 3 years SUAS registration. I thought the AMA did pretty well in keeping our cost down to $1.67 a year considering that the FAA could have turned it into a cash cow had they chosen to. Otherwise, the vast majority of us are still flying as we always have even as public opinion is against us in many places. That sounds like a win to me.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:25 AM
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Except for the FAA thing, about all AMA can do is cut expenses. There is really nothing else they can do to bring in more member dues.That is supposed to be the job of clubs. Other than that, AMA is simply waiting for the fat lady to sing.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:00 PM
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AMA has done both good and bad as far as I am concerned. At this point in time I am unsure how much further FAA trouble they are leading us into. Clearly AMA people didn't comprehend the end run around FAA would spell future troubles. Washington politics operates in a closed society of winks, nods, innuendos, favors, kiss up, payback, etc., basically another world and legalize language.

I don’t put a lot of trust in AMA leadership for a number of reasons, one of which is this particular debacle. Another is the mentioned safety program, which never informs membership of serious accidents involving modeling. Members need to learn of these incidents and how to prevent them. But no, not a peep.

I don’t mind being a paying member to support some of the positive programs AMA has but the head in the sand self serving attitude of top echelon representing us is disappointing.

FAA rules the airspace and their decisions will be final until other legal minds can prove any detrimental to everyday life. Meanwhile understand the rules and abide so it doesn’t become more difficult.
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:15 AM
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I'd say some of the over aggression of the AMA was caused by desire to please the membership. Complaining people are rarely right, but they are always influential. Member opinion is just one more factor the leadership has to deal with, and we don't always act in our own best interests.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:16 AM
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[


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Old Yesterday, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
I submit that FAA has deliberately slow-rolled naming AMA a CBO to allow time for others to get established, thus diluting AMA's competitive advantage, and bringing other voices into the mix.
This is incorrect. The FAA recognizes the AMA as the ONLY organization that may work with individual ATC facilities to craft LOA's for airspace use in un-controlled airspace. The AMA is the only CBO recognized by the FAA.
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